2020-06-17 Arm in Arm?

“For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law.
Indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”
Romans 8:7-8

The bible says some pretty crazy stuff. Like this. This is crystal clear about the status of the unbeliever. S/he is hostile to God. If they are of the flesh, they are subject to obeying the law. All of it. (Romans 3:20, Galatians 5:3) There is no leniency to age (although there is a very good case for exemption of the very young and mentally handicapped), sex, or race. Being religious in itself can work against you.

Let’s face it. The real status of the unbeliever is that they are enemies of God.

That’s not what I was taught in church, but the bible is clear about that. True, God does love the world – enough to show it mercy in providing food and shelter. “For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:45) He even gives the entire world an opportunity for forgiveness of sin through the death on his Son (John 3:16-17) But, you know what? The world scoffs at this. It shakes its fist at God and spits on his offer.

John 3:19 And this is the judgement: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.

That’s not to say that every single act of the unbeliever is evil; however, not one single “good” act is pleasing to God. Not one, as in ZERO. In fact, God condemns those acts as filthy rags in his eyes. (Isaiah 64:6-7) Why? Because they know better yet will not repent. They choose to be enemies of God. Deliberately. Intentionally. On purpose. Let’s face it, there is nothing about the unbeliever that is good. Nothing.

I don’t think we really have a good appreciation of this concept. Why? Because if they are God’s enemy, aren’t they ours?

Listen to what Paul warns believers about religious people who are errant in their doctrine:

Galatians 1:6-9 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel – not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

We need to be fully aware of all this when dealing with enemies of God. Any gospel of works is contrary to God’s gospel of faith alone, in Christ alone. Partial truths are lies. Go all the way back to the Garden in case you don’t believe that.

The bible is clear about how we are to deal with enemies. First, share the gospel. Why? Because God extends his offer of forgiveness to all flesh. So must we. If they accept, we have a fellow brother/sister in Christ. If not, they remain enemies. We must be very careful in dealing with them lest we take on some of their beliefs. The bible is very straight-forward about that.

2 John 10-11 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.

This is the stuff that is rocking my world right now. I’m coming to the conclusion that protesting against societal injustice is not provided for in scripture. Sharing the gospel to a lost world is, but I don’t see evidence or support of protesting government oppression, racism, economic inequity, or other forms of grievances that are so common today. Look, Jesus was certainly in the streets, but not to protest a particular sin. He was in the streets to expose sin by his light and call all to repentance – for ALL sin, not just some. Furthermore, he demanded that all follow him, to believe that he was the Son of God and to obey his commands. All of them.

In discussions on this, some have asked about pro-life marches. Certainly, those are good, are they not? I’m still working all this out, but I’m starting to lean against them. Why? Because their primary purpose is not to proclaim the gospel. They desire people to stop killing babies but do not call for wholesale repentance through Jesus Christ. The cross and Jesus are missing.

Furthermore, everyone is welcome to march. While that sounds good, is it what we are supposed to do? Afterall, Catholics are vehemently pro-life, so that’s a good thing, is it not? We need to go beyond one item of belief before making that decision and ask some hard questions. What do Catholics believe? Are they genuine believers or are they merely religious people who are following a different gospel? If so, should we ignore these differences and join forces anyway for the sake of one particular cause? Or, perhaps we shouldn’t even worry about our differences. What does it matter anyway?

Just the few verses I have covered here should give us enough reason to really stop and consider these hard questions, don’t you think?

Father, I’m stepping on toes again. Guide me. If I am on the wrong track, please forgive me and quickly show me my error through scripture. Let anyone who might read my error quickly forget it. Amen.

Copyright © 2020 Scott Powers

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